Monday 26 September 2016

Dispute resolution system aimed at settling 1,000 cases over allegedly defective hip implants is 'manifestly unfair', court hears

Tim Healy

Published 13/11/2015 | 17:10

The judge said there are over 1,000 cases and 100 plus so far have been settled.
The judge said there are over 1,000 cases and 100 plus so far have been settled.

A DISPUTE resolution system put forward by DePuy International aimed at settling more than 1,000 cases against it over allegedly defective hip implants has been branded as " manifestly unfair."

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The High Court heard DePuy, the implant manufacturer, wanted the hearing dates of over 70 pending cases to be set aside if its alternative resolution system was accepted by the court.

Cork solicitor Ernest Cantillon said DePuy's application did not acknowledge the years of pain and suffering of many of those who have sued over the implants.

In an affidavit, he said DePuy was asking the court to put "unjustifiable pressure on plaintiffs" many of whom are vulnerable and elderly "to abandon their right of access to the courts in favour of a manifestly unfair alternative dispute resolution process."

Mr Cantillon proposed an alternative process where the Bar Council would approve the panel of evaluators rather than DePuy.

"In the end it is the question of the planning and resources which DePuy is willing to deploy to overcome the challeges of this litigation," he said.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross, after hearing submissions from legal representatives of over 200 litigants, ruled 72 cases pending for hearing will keep their place in the system, but the court will not list any more DePuy cases for trial.

He gave all sides until  December 16 next to come up with  another alternative resolution process.

He would consider proposals if the solicitors representing the different people suing wanted to come together and present a plan to the court. The judge said he wanted a process that was fair on both sides.

The judge said there are over 1,000 cases and 100 plus so far have been settled.

He said even listing two cases a week, the High Court would only be able to take 80 cases a year which would mean it could be 2022 by the time all the cases are dealt with.

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